The New Moon in Gemini has just passed and we are now firmly in the waxing rising energy of this Lunar Month, bringing us closer to the Solstice, which arrives June 21st at 15:54 UTC.
The Solstice marks the arrival of astronomical Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and astronomical Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. But the Solstice also has a spiritual significance in our Wheel of the Year. In the Northern Hemisphere, you may know this as Litha, MidSummer or Alban Hefin (“the light of the shore”). In the Southern Hemisphere, you may know this as Yule, Midwinter or Alban Arthan (“the light of Arthur”).
Did you know that there are many in the Northern Hemisphere who celebrate MidSummer not on Solstice but on the feast day of Saint John The Baptist / St Jean-Baptiste, June 24th (complementing the celebrations of Jesus at the Winter Solstice / Christmas).
And June 24th is also celebrated as International Fairy Day, a nod to the belief that faeries roamed the Earth at this time of the thinning of the veils between worlds (although it was believed they were always present!)
My ancestors who lived in the temperate zones of Northern Europe, the Solstice did not represent the beginning of Summer but rather was recognized as MidSummer, following Bealtaine which marked the arrival of their summer.
At the Summer Solstice, Father Sun’s waxing energy peaks; the days are the longest we experience in the year. It appears to hold that position — standing still, the root of the term Solstice — as it gradually tips towards its waning manifestation. In the days following Solstice, the days draw in and Father Sun begins his waning cycle moving towards late Summer, early and late Autumn, and towards the Winter Solstice in December.
For those south of the Southern Hemisphere, particularly those south of the Tropic of Capricorn, the energy of Father Sun and Mama Earth complement that of the North (and vice versa of course!). The days are now at their shortest. The land is resting more, as are her people, plants and animals, all looking forward to the return of the waxing days that lead to rebirth and new growth.
Solstice energy embraces peak power, that of light and fullness and Yang energy in Summer and that of dark and dream time and Yin energy in Winter.
The Summer Solstice honours and celebrates the Fire element, growth and self-empowerment and the Divine Masculine within us. That definitely feels like a Third Chakra connection to me!
The Winter and Summer Solstices mark turning points in the year and each contains the seed of the opposite Solstice, each the complementary Yin and Yang of Grandfather Sun. Both are celebrated with Fire, perhaps with a plea to the Sun to stay with us a little longer or to manifest a little more quickly?
At MidWinter (aka Yule), the Winter Solstice, we experience the shortest day and the longest night. Mama Earth in deep rest and stillness, the harvest complete. From that point, Grandfather Sun is waxing, the days will begin to lengthen, heralding the coming Spring and Summer.
At MidSummer (aka Litha), Summer Solstice, we experience the longest day and the shortest night. Glorious summer — the peak of energy, Mama Earth blooming and growing. And from that point, Grandfather Sun begins his waning cycle, the days will get slightly shorter and we know that the first harvests of Autumn will be coming at Lughnasadh in early August.
“Light though thou be, thou leapest out of darkness; but I am darkness leaping out of light, leaping out of thee!”
— Herman Melville, from ” Moby Dick”
At Solstice, that peak of dark births the light; that peak of light births the dark. Each is a sacred moment of fullness and manifestation, where we celebrate their connection and complementary energies.
At “soul-stice”, I consciously make time for my soul to rest . . . taking a “time-out” for myself.
I encourage you to find some time for your Self at Solstice, whether your are experiencing the Solstice as Winter or Summer.